Pope Francis is set to arrive in Mexico City tonight for a five-day visit, and among his many stops around the Tierra Azteca is the city of Morelia in the state of Michocán, which is considered to be one of the “hotspots of Mexico’s drug conflict”.
Drug war and violence aside, Michoacán, known as “el Alma de México” (the soul of México), is ranked as the ninth largest state in México, and it features a wealth of assets and cultural attractions. Located in western Mexico, Michoacán is bordered by the states of Colima, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Queretaro, State of Mexico and Guerrero.
With a rich variety of climates, beautiful sceneries and home of ancient civilizations, Michoacán is a state you must visit.
Here are nine things you didn’t know about Michoacán:
1. Home of the Youngest Volcano in the World
Michoacán is home to a cinder cone volcano, Parícutin, the youngest volcano in the world. The volcano is named after the village of Parícutin that was destroyed by the volcano’s very first eruption in 1943, and has been named one of the seven natural wonders of the world as mankind was able to witness it’s birth, growth and death.
2. Purépechas were superior than Aztecs in Metalsmithing
Michoacán cradles the amazing ancient civilization of Purépechas, a major civilization of Mesoamerica established in the 14th century. Despite multiple attempts and unlike other civilizations, the Purépechas were never conquered by Aztecs. Although they were enemies, Aztecs would trade with Purépechas because their knowledge of metalsmithing was more advanced than theirs.
3. Butterfly Sanctuaries
Between October and March, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from eastern Canada to the forest of Michoacán, as it offers a peaceful and protective environment for the butterflies. The sanctuaries of the Monarch are considered among the four natural beauties recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on national soil.
4. Emperor of México was born in Michoacán
Agustín de Iturbide, also known as Agustín de Mexico, was a military leader and emperor of México who was born in Valladolid present day Morelia, Michoacán. Iturbide was leader of the conservative factions in the Mexican independence movement.
5. Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, known as the father of México’s independence, received his bachelor’s degree in theology and philosophy from the Universidad San Nicolas in Morelia, and later served as rector of the university.
6. Home of Eight Magic Villages
Michoacán is home to eight Pueblos Magicos (magic villages), recognition of those who inhabit these beautiful geographical places and have managed to retain all the cultural and historical riches they contain.
7. Michoacán’s “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” Cuisine
In 2010, UNESCO named Michoacán’s cuisine an “Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. It is “the perfect blend of ancestral culinary secrets of Purépechas ethnic flavors and spices that were brought by the Spanish conquistadors.”
8. Sea turtle Sanctuary
Michoacán does not only count with miles of long beautiful beaches where tourists can arrive, but it also counts with miles of sanctuaries designated to protect black turtles and Olive Ridley.
9. Michoacán is World’s largest Avocado Producer
Michoacán produces more avocados than any other state in Mexico. Uruapan is the world’s largest supplier of avocados, and nearly 100 tons of avocados were exported to the United States to be enjoyed as guacamole during Super Bowl 50.
Merlin Gonzalez is a print media communications student with a double minor in Spanish and marketing. She graduated valedictorian, battalion commander, and National Honor Society president in 2012 from Scarborough High School. She has several scholarships from the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo, Phi Betta Kappa, Coca-Cola/HISD and HAHMP. She has interned at Mega TV and Mi Familia Vota Texas, and is part of the Program for Excellence in Sales at the University of Houston. Her goal is to have her own magazine as well as work alongside Jorge Ramos or at least be able to meet him.